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Corals can reestablish symbiosis with algae from their environments after bleaching

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During the six weeks following 'bleaching,' the corals were exposed to algal symbionts that were added to the aquarium water.

The researchers found that at the end of this period, symbiont cell densities within the coral showed a significant increase, demonstrating that the coral animals were able to establish symbiotic relationships with these new, or exogenous, algae.

"We found cell densities within the coral had increased between nine and 31 times the level measured immediately following the bleaching episode," said Lewis.

"The symbiosis had begun to reestablish itself," added Coffroth.

The UB researchers caution that the survival of individual colonies and populations of coral should not be construed as a demonstration that an entire ecosystem is healthy.

"Nevertheless, these data demonstrate that these animals may have the resilience to recover from bleaching episodes," said Coffroth.


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Contact: Ellen Goldbaum
goldbaum@buffalo.edu
716-645-5000 x1415
University at Buffalo
3-Jun-2004


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